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Top 10 Nintendo Characters that Deserve Their Own Game

Top 10 Nintendo Characters that Deserve Their Own Game

Nintendo has endeared us to dozens of characters over several high profile franchises throughout the years, with even the most minor entities sometimes gaining a large fan following.  After over 30 years of being one of the industry’s giants, it seems that far too many interesting characters have fallen through the cracks without having a starring role in their own title.  Nintendo, if you ever read this, here’s the shortlist of characters that I’d like to see at the helm of their very own game.


Jigglypuff10.  Jigglypuff

When racking my brain for notable Pokémon, it’s hard to think of anyone but Pikachu.  And accordingly, Pikachu has appeared in a few spinoffs of his (her?) own.  So who’s next?  Well, out of a slew of recognizable Pokémon, Jigglypuff was the next logical contender.  He/she is one of only a few Pokémon to appear outside of a proper Pokémon game, and his/her indelible cuteness makes him/her the perfect candidate for a starring role.

With its Kirby-like physique and ability to lullaby its adversaries to sleep, the possibilities are endless.  One thought that immediately comes to mind is a combination platformer/music game, requiring the player to correctly press sequences of buttons corresponding to music notes.  Plenty of other Pokémon could probably prop up their own game, but in terms of giving us something unique, I think Jigglypuff’s singing takes the cake.


Daisy9.  Princess Daisy

I don’t have any brilliant ideas about what kind of setting to stick Daisy in, but she makes the list on general principle alone.  After all of her appearances in Mario spinoffs, she deserves a few minutes of her own in the limelight.  Although her origins have been eroded over the years, I think another visit to Sarasaland would be in order.  (Sarasaland is where Super Mario Land takes place, where we’re first introduced to Daisy.)  With a whole new environment to play with, perhaps developers could fashion a platformer around totally new mechanics.

As much as I’d love to see Daisy in her own game, I’d still like to see Peach get a proper treatment first.  Her own vehicle, Super Princess Peach, was built on some exceedingly interesting concepts, but it never really came together for me.  Maybe Peach and Daisy could assume equal roles in a game designed specifically around tandem character control.  That would give both ladies a chance to shine and help take them out of their perpetual damsel in distress roles.


8.  Funky Kong

Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I really want to see some focus on the extended Kong family, and I can’t think of a better candidate than the surfboard-wielding Funky Kong.  There’s also Candy Kong, the simian sex symbol, and the cantankerous Cranky Kong, but in a market driven primarily by males (and the parents of males), Funky Kong’s tough image seems to be the most surefire basis for a marketable product.  What can Funky do that Donkey, Diddy, and Dixie haven’t?  I don’t know, but that surfboard looks like a fine starting point!

Funky Kong


Ridley

I used to look like this…

7.  Ridley

Of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, Metroid has generated a surprising lack of memorable characters.  However, one baddie among the faceless hordes of aliens has developed quite a following: Ridley.  Despite his in-game status as an almost secondary villain, he has become Samus’ de facto archnemesis…though I suppose this is fitting seeing as how he was responsible for her parents’ death.

Ridley

…Now I look more like this!

Ridley’s appearance has changed drastically over the years; his current dragon-like form holds a wealth of potential when it comes to designing a game around him.  His ability to fly could lend itself well to shoot ’em up elements, or it could give him greater mobility (up and down in addition to the usual right and left) in a platformer setting.  This would fit in perfectly with the labyrinthine, underground fortress of Zebes, making for a whole different experience than we’re used to with Samus.


Ganondorf6.  Ganondorf

Truthfully, I have no practical ideas on how to stick such a pure embodiment of evil into a game where we’re supposed to play as and root for him.  Aside from that minor detail, he’s become a pretty awesome character – cunning, manipulative, savage, arrogant, and often supremely powerful – if you’re down with the whole ultimate evil world domination kind of thing.  With an imposing stature and so very many reasons to fight, somebody somewhere is bound to have an idea where Ganon gets the starring role.


5.  Rosalina

I’m extremely partial to Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, and I really dig the blending of standard Mario with fantastical cosmological settings.  The whole idea works better than it should, and it’s a nice refresher after decades spent in the Mushroom Kingdom.  Rosalina is a huge part of these intergalactic travels, with more than enough stories to tell in these largely uncharted waters.

Rosalina

There’s an incredible amount of potential when it comes to Rosalina’s origins and motivations, and the best part is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to existing Mario mythology.  In the Galaxy games, Mario more or less came into Rosalina’s “world,” so it’s safe to say that her “world” existed both before and after Mario.  With so many places to explore and the ability to really branch out on her own, I see excellent grounds for an RPG or action RPG.


4.  The Koopalings

Koopalings

L to R: Larry, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy, Ludwig

Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder where in the hell all of these children came from?  If they even are his children…the Koopalings have a sketchy history.  When first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3they didn’t even have names, prompting the cartoon series to make up names for them.  Piling on the confusion, the developers did eventually name them, though these names didn’t coincide with the animated show.  At this point they were assumed to be Bowser’s children, but then “Koopa Kid” came along, who later evolved into Bowser Jr., who was supposedly Bowser’s only kid, with the remaining Koopalings relegated to nephew status.

Koopalings

Whatever the case may be, we need some solid closure on these familial relationships.  Maybe we could take a step back into the early years of Lemmy, Larry, Ludwig, Morton, Roy, Iggy, and Wendy and play as each of them?  Depending on the depth of the connection, perhaps even Bowser Jr. can make an appearance as well!  Villain-centric games probably won’t gain any ground, but by giving us more child-like versions of the Koopalings, their “evilness” could be tamed down enough to turn them into protagonists.


Meta Knight3.  Meta Knight

This enigmatic little fellow has consistently been one of the most intriguing peripheral characters stemming from the Kirby franchise.  Good?  Bad?  Both?  Neither?  Kirby’s shape connotes anything but toughness, yet the artists and developers make Meta Knight (of the same “race” as Kirby) as imposing as a squishy little ball can be.  With his mask, glowing eyes, bat wings, and deadly looking sword, he’s exceptionally fierce.

Meta Knight would provide an excellent chance to explore more of the Kirby universe, something we know comparatively little about next to series like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda.  Kirby has always lived in a playful and robust world, and looking at it through the eyes of another character would bring much needed depth to the franchise.


Bowser2.  Bowser

Isn’t it finally time for us to get some backstory on one of our most famous villains?  A Bowser-centric game could give us insight into his beginnings and motivations, and in the process shed some light on his conflict with Mario & Co. as well.  Nintendo has always drawn fairly rigid lines between good and bad, so the likelihood of Bowser stomping his way through armies of Toads seems low, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

What about Mario and Bowser facing off against a greater evil?  Or an amnesiac Bowser shouldering a quest for the good guys?  His large size could help to define a new set of mechanics, based on factors other than the nimbleness of other Mario characters.  The door is wide open on this one…it could even serve as a tie in to a game surrounding the Koopalings!


Waluigi1.  Waluigi

Controversial top choice?  Maybe.  I’m not even sure I care all that much about Waluigi as a character, but for god’s sake, put him in a game already!  At least Daisy has Super Mario Land to her credit; Waluigi has nothing to his name outside of a handful of sports titles and the Mario Kart series.  Now I get it, Waluigi was never supposed to be anything but fodder, but he’s grown into a recognizable character throughout his role in Mario spinoffs, and I think it’s high time that Nintendo test the waters with a Waluigi game.

Wario and WaluigiAt the very least, he could appear with Wario with a “partners in crime” sort of role.  Like Mario and Luigi, the two could highlight different characteristics in the same world – Wario is slow and strong while Waluigi is agile and speedier.  Wario has held down his own series of games for years, couldn’t we get a “Wario & Waluigi” spinoff?

A shared title is about the best we could expect for now, but if Nintendo played their cards right, they could have another successful character to capitalize off of.  His marginally creepy appearance might preclude his ability to turn into a runaway success, but I do think he has a place with hardcore Nintendo fans and those who don’t mind walking on the dark side.


Honorable Mentions

I feel pretty good about my top 10 choices, though a few others have runaway potential for a successful game as well.

Bowser Jr.Bowser Jr.

Ok, I did sort of lump him in with the Koopalings, but from a technical standpoint, Bowser Jr. has always been kept unambiguously separate from what are either his 7 siblings or 7 first cousins.  Personally I find Bowser Jr. a bit grating, though there’s no denying the mark he’s made since Super Mario Sunshine.  With his mischievous paintbrush in tow, a world of possibilities are opened up!

Falco LombardiFalco

Falco didn’t make the final cut because I’m not convinced there’s much of a game to build around him that hasn’t already been done within Star Fox.  However, he is a consistent crowd pleaser, certainly moreso than Peppy or Slippy, so perhaps some clever fan could find a place for him distinct from his role as Fox’s wingman.

NabbitNabbit

This little critter made his debut in New Super Mario Bros. U and then reappeared as a playable character in New Super Luigi U.  Only time will tell how much attention Nintendo decides to lavish on this strange creation, but I think his goofy and unconventional behavior could make for an interesting caveat within the Mushroom Kingdom.


Well, that about wraps it up!  Getting games that revolve around a villain as the protagonist are probably a longshot, though I do think Nintendo has a chance to crank out a few new games that would play into a preexisting fan base.  It’d be a great way to put new ideas out there without hinging success on a whole new cast, so perhaps as they run out of ideas for current franchises they’ll look towards their goldmine of peripheral characters.

Are these the charcters you would like to see in their own games?  Who else would you add?  Comment and tell us what you think!

Written by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist


Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything: thecubist@nerdbacon.com

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3 Comments

  1. I was always partial to the idea of a Link and Ganondorf teamup game…Basically, a TRUE Zelda multiplayer experience. I always sort of envisioned them teaming up against an even greater evil than Ganondorf, perhaps someone who wants to DESTROY Hyrule which would be against both Link and Ganondorf’s interests.

     
  2. GREAT list! I feel pretty good about #1 and #2 in their right spots.

     
  3. GENO!!! He needs to be at least in another game other than Super Mario RPG.

     

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